The Age of Big Data is here. The advent of the cloud has made the unlimited storage of data not only possible, but affordable. There are now dozens of business platforms that facilitate the acquisition of that data—from customer information and industry knowledge to internal business documents.
But the storage and acquisition of data isn’t the problem. The real problem today is, how do you organize and search across all that knowledge and data?
This is where knowledge management software comes into play. Below we will explore what knowledge management is, the challenges that led to its existence, and the solutions necessary to optimize knowledge management and thereby improve a company’s efficiency and bottom line.
What Is Knowledge Management Software?
Knowledge Management (KM) software is software that assists with the identification, creation, distribution, and organization of a company’s knowledge pool. KM software, at its best, gives a company a single, unified pool of information that is easily
KM software is meant to make companies leaner, efficient, and more profitable. But a number of challenges exist which make that easier said than done. Let’s look at a few of the primary challenges that make KM software so important for businesses—but so difficult to get right.
Challenge #1: Making Knowledge Quick to Access
Infinite data also means infinite knowledge. With KM software, you’re essentially crowdsourcing insights from every person you employ and every customer you do business with. But this simply isn’t possible unless you have a KM system that can quickly and easily leverage employee and customer content no matter where they are in the world.
In other words, there can be no data silos. Knowledge must be accessed in real time, and it must be accessible from any device, anywhere in the world, and even in multiple languages if your company is truly global in scope.
Challenge #2: Making Knowledge Easy to Discover
This may be the biggest challenge of all. All that data is useless if people cannot find what they’re looking for quickly and efficiently. Part of what makes KM software so powerful is that it promises to organize data in a way that makes sense to people. But even if KM software does this perfectly, it still doesn’t solve the entire puzzle: how do people find it?
One solution to this challenge has only recently become available: enterprise search that leverages AI, machine learning and smart filters.
Challenge #3: Making Knowledge Easy to Update
Imagine you have access to all of this knowledge and you can even find anything you need in a fraction of a second. That still doesn’t solve the third and final hurdle, which is to ensure that data is uploaded and updated on a regular basis and in real time.
It’s not an easy task. Knowledge management software must be constantly up to date if insights and knowledge are to be truly effective. Without it, you have aging data with little to no relation to what’s currently happening in your business or to your customers.
Search Can Solve the Challenges of Knowledge Management
Perhaps the most fascinating and powerful tool to arise in recent memory is enterprise search, which allows employees to search and access their company’s content and collective knowledge at any time, from anywhere.
The best search tools give employees access to your company’s knowledge from a single search bar no matter where they are in the world or what device they’re using. The ability to discover information instantaneously across multiple platforms means knowledge is, for the first time ever, completely devoid of silos.
However, this doesn’t mean that all your employees will have unlimited access to everything. Even if they use the same applications, their permissions can vary. Enterprise search is able to adopt the permissions native to each application and show users only the content they already have access to.
Enterprise search uses powerful AI that takes what it already knows about workflows within applications and creates a framework to improve relevance immediately. But it doesn’t stop there - it then learns how your employees search and is able to surface better predictions as it learns what your employees are looking for (and how they’re looking for it) over time. It can also make sense of queries naturally, as a human would, meaning better predictive accuracy for your search results.
Search that isn’t constantly updating isn’t good search. This is much less of a problem today, as search results now show data that has been updated in real time, regardless of where that update occurred or what device it occurred on.
Enterprise search tools like Swiftype can do all of the above and more. That allows your knowledge management software to do more than ever before, too.
Swiftype = Faster, Easier Knowledge Management
Swiftype allows KM software to become what it was always meant to be: an incredibly powerful tool for discovering knowledge into your business and customers. To learn more about how Swiftype can help you improve your knowledge management systems, contact us today.